The Conference Board announced Monday that its employment trends index edged up to 97.0 in July from 96.7 in June, and was 9.8% higher than a year ago.

“The growth rate of the employment trends index slowed sharply in the past three months, suggesting that employment growth will remain too weak to keep up with the increase in the working age population,” said Gad Levanon, associate director for macroeconomic research at the Conference Board.

“The disappointing employment numbers may indicate that the low levels of household spending and confidence are making businesses more cautious when it comes to hiring,” he said.

Anthony Chan, chief economist for JPMorgan Private Wealth Management in New York, estimates that U.S. nonfarm payrolls must expand by 115,000 to 125,000 new jobs each month to accommodate new workforce entries due to population growth.

Nonfarm payrolls have added an average of 93,430 jobs a month so far this year.

The July increase in the employment trends index represents its 14th straight monthly gain and was driven by positive contributions from six out of the eight components.

The improving indicators were: initial claims for unemployment insurance, the percentage of firms with positions they are not able to fill at the moment, those who are part-time workers for economic reasons, job openings, industrial production, and real manufacturing and trade sales.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.